Homebrew Recipe: Pecan Strong Ale

Last month I shared my homebrewed coffee vanilla porter recipe and mentioned sharing more recipes. Well, here’s another that I brewed for the holiday season. I dubbed this one the 2016 Christmas Ale, but it’s not really a spiced beer in the spirit of many Christmas ales.

This one actually has a history. In fact, I brewed a variation of this beer over four years ago as the first batch of beer that I kegged. Then for the 2015 Iron Brewer competition, our team was assigned pecans as an ingredient, and we brewed a version of this beer that won the people’s choice favorite. So, it’s definitely a beer that I have some experience with, and is a nice winter beer that incorporates the flavor of pecan pralines.

Here’s the recipe for the base beer:

  • 12 pounds Maris Otter
  • 1 pound Crystal 60L
  • 1 pound Flaked wheat
  • 8 ounces Crystal 120L
  • 6 ounces Chocolate malt
  • 1 pound dark brown sugar at 10 minutes
  • 2 ounces Willamette hops at 60 minutes
  • 1 ounce Willamette hops at 5 minutes
  • Scottish Ale yeast (Wyeast 1728)

I also added a pound of roasted pecans to the mash, and soaked another pound of roasted pecans in some bourbon for a couple weeks. Those pecans were added to the fermenter after primary fermentation had concluded and stayed there for about a week before packaging the beer.

I mashed at 154° to give this beer some body, as I didn’t want it to finish very dry. This beer started out at 1.081 OG and ended up being 8.2% ABV. I also added about an ounce of vanilla puree at kegging to give it that praline feel. It’s not hoppy at all, with just enough bitterness to keep the beer from being sweet. The color is dark brown with ruby notes, and although there’s not much head to it, I’m not at all phased by it. I probably could have soaked up more of the oils from the roasted pecans, but it drinks nicely regardless. I’m very happy with the way it turned out and enjoyed sharing some bombers that I bottled and gave away as Christmas presents.




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